Breaking down Top 5 Red Sox prospects

April 10th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Ian Browne’s Red Sox Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

With the Minor League season in full swing, this seemed like an appropriate time to talk to Red Sox director of player development Brian Abraham about the five highest-rated Boston prospects as ranked by MLB Pipeline, excluding , who is the starting first baseman for the Red Sox. What are you looking for from as he continues at High-A Greenville, where he spent the final 25 games of last season?

Abraham: We are very happy with his progress, his continued growth as a young baseball player and man. Continued improvements in all areas on top of consistency in all phases -- defense, offense, baserunning. A big focus this offseason was adding strength to prepare for the full/long season and the work he put in over the winter/during ST allowed that to happen.

Offensively, working on driving pitches within the zone, more consistent bat-to-ball skills because of his ability to drive the baseball when he does make hard contact -- some struggles last year were due to some wrist soreness -- so we feel now that he’s healthy it will improve naturally.

Defensively, continuing to work on lateral range with continued improvements on reads, first step. Focusing on attacking the baseball and working through the baseball on throws for consistent accuracy and power across the diamond. Utilizing his speed, athleticism on the basepaths. Continue to be a leader -- by example and vocally, showing others what it means to be a good teammate and pushing himself to not just be good, but to be great. With , there seemed to be some external expectation he might start at Triple-A Worcester. Instead, he is at Double-A Portland. Am I right to say that improved plate discipline is the key element before he advances to Triple-A?

Abraham: Yes. is one of your most exciting young prospects. What are his main points of emphasis as he moves up to Single-A?

Abraham: Getting acclimated to life away from the [player development] complex - living on his own, food/nutrition, sleep, taking care of everything away from the ballpark and off the field so that his performance on the field can be the main area of focus. Similar to Marcelo in a lot of ways, improving in all phases of the game.

Defensively, first step, routes, reads and being aggressive toward the baseball using his speed and athleticism. That would be the same on the bases. Offensively, continue to be aggressive but with better pitching, increased breaking balls, doing a better job of working counts, knowing opposing pitchers and laying off secondary pitches outside of the zone. When he stays in the zone, gets ahead, works in fastball counts, he drives the baseball to all fields consistently. , your first-rounder from last year, has a back injury. Approximately how much time do you think he will miss, and what steps do you look for from him when he gets into the lineup at Salem?

Abraham: We don’t have an exact timetable but we will get a better feel as he ramps up baseball activity in April. Workload is a big key as he comes off not playing for most of Spring Training -- at-bats, innings in the field and on his feet. There is no doubt the talent is there along with the consistency in all phases and desire to be great. Repetition, strength, endurance will be important coming off the back stiffness as he prepares for a full season and consistent playing time. The organization has to be excited about Nick Yorke, who is starting this season at Portland. How much did Yorke show you through Spring Training in terms of swing adjustments and getting back to full health after a tough 2022 season?

Abraham: We saw someone who has the desire to put 2022 behind him and work toward a new year, a fresh start with a new attitude/approach. He’s healthy, put in work this offseason and is committed to sticking to his adjustments throughout the ups/downs of a long season. Understanding struggles can happen, embracing them, working through them, and coming out stronger is where we think he is. His time in the AFL, offseason and Spring Training gave us a feeling that he is in line for a chance to turn things around and focus on the future and the positives vs. the struggles he had last year.